ICF Swimming Pool

ICFs offer a simpler, better and more efficient way to build concrete structures. What many people don’t realize is that they’re also great for building swimming pools.

Insulated concrete forms swimming pools offer many advantages over traditional concrete pools and are relatively easy to build.

ICF Swimming Pool Construction Advantages

A swimming pool, especially an inground pool, is an investment. Naturally, you want to get the best value, and that’s what an ICF pool offers.

There are many advantages to choosing an ICF pool over a traditional concrete pool.

#1 Simple, Quick Construction

One of the biggest advantages of an ICF pool is that it’s easy and quick to construct compared to a traditional concrete pool.

ICF panels are generally lightweight, easier to handle and modular in nature. This eliminates the need for heavy equipment for cutting, lifting and delivering materials.

Additionally, ICF pool walls are more forgiving when it comes to excavation. If the pool area is over-excavated, backfill can be added after the walls are already in place.

#2 Lower Operating Costs

Energy efficiency may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a pool, but the majority of a pool’s heat is lost through its sides and bottom. That translates to higher energy costs just to stabilize the pool’s temperature.

With an ICF pool, continuous insulation is built-in, which cuts down on heat loss drastically. And if the water’s temperature is more stable, you may be able to enjoy more time in your pool each year.

Thermal insulation helps to reduce heating costs for a pool by as much as 60%. When traditional pools are constructed, they lose around 80% of the heat through the sides and bottoms of the pool.

Continuous insulation using ICF methods allow for a pool that has insulation along the:

  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Bottom
  • Sides

If you’re in a region where the temperatures dip lower at night, the operating costs can be even greater.

#3 Design Versatility and Beauty

ICF pools allow for virtually unlimited design options, including beautiful, curved walls and arches. 

Compared to conventional concrete pools, ICF pools also offer more consistent finishes. Pool plaster is added to the inside of the pool to create a smooth, waterproof finish.

#4 Durability

ICF pools offer strength and durability that conventional concrete pools don’t offer. They’re disaster-resistant and resistant to mold. Compared to other pool construction methods, ICF pools often have longer lifespans and are easier to maintain.

ICF Pool Costs

An ICF pool is easier and quicker to construct compared to a traditional concrete pool. This method of construction reduces the materials and number of trades needed to complete the job.

Additional money is saved on energy costs to heat the pool. The overall construction cost of an ICF pool is typically less than other methods of construction.

How to Build an ICF Swimming Pool

FoxBlocks ICF Pool
© FoxBlocks

The great thing about ICF swimming pools is that they can be made into any shape or design. Whether you want a simple rectangular pool or a more complex design with curved walls, ICF is a great option. You can find standard pool designs, or you can create a custom one.

Here’s how the process works:


The first step in building your ICF pool is excavation. Depending on the site, this can be a lengthy and costly process. Excavation will need to take into account the footings under the wall.


In-ground pools should have footings that are at last 20” wide and 16” deep. Some soil conditions require wider footings of 58.” The pool’s footings will be dependent on the soil’s compressive strength and local codes.

Next, the footings are created, and the rebar is then added.

Walls, Plumbing and Electrical

Once the footings are installed, the ICF blocks will be assembled to create the walls. Vertical and horizontal rebar will be installed as the blocks are being installed.

For deep pools with tall walls, bracing will need to be installed to ensure that everything is plumb after the concrete is placed. Shorter walls shouldn’t require any additional support.

At this stage, the rough electrical and plumbing will be installed.

Pool Flooring and Concrete

Next, the subgrade for the pool’s floor is shaped and compacted. Concrete for the flooring and walls is usually placed during this stage, too.

Moisture barriers may also be installed behind the ICF blocks to prevent ground water from damaging the pool, and then backfill is added.

Finishing the Interior

To finish the interior, plaster finishes and/or liners may be installed. Pool liners typically last ten years and are installed on top of the plaster.

Plaster is typically applied onto the ICF foam at 1/2″ thick. Depending on the product, one or two applications may be applied.

Plaster finishes are incredibly smooth and are 100% waterproof.

ICF pools are a viable solution to regular pool construction that helps lower upfront and long-term costs. Energy-efficient and durable, choosing an ICF pool will help you enjoy lower maintenance costs and heating costs, too.

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